Although you might not have heard of Jamie N Commons yet, you definitely will by the end of the year.
I caught up with the bluesman ahead of his gig at Jericho Tavern earlier this month to see what he was up to. As an Englishman who’s spent a considerable amount of time in America, Commons injects a unique belnd of influences into his heartfelt blues tracks.
He’s previously cited the Allman Brothers as a major influence; and tells me he has an equal appreciation of the Rolling Stones.
The interesting position of Commons in terms of nationality is arguably reflected by the movements of the Stones in the late 60s, a group that he says “sold blues back to the States”.
Blues, as a genre, has now become a “treasured part of American culture” and one which Commons hopes to latch on to; a lesser appreciation of the form over here is proving difficult.
Commons defines himself as blues-rock “with some back-end of what’s going on now, hip hop stuff etc”. He tells me, though, “It has to be British rock at its core; if it doesn’t work on an acoustic guitar, it’s not happening.”
This can definitely be heard on his latest EP, Rumble and Sway, with there being hip hop influences heard on the title track and ‘Worth Your While’, which definitely grounds his newest offering within the modern age whilst also being influenced by The Doors and “hints at that early 60s go-go lounge type thing”.
On his SoundCloud there are currently various remixes of the aforementioned ‘Rumble and Sway’, of which Commons doesn’t seem too much of a fan.
“That was the label’s decision, I’m not massively into that whole world. But the more promotion, the better.” He’s also not a massive consumer of music nowadays, worried that these influences will force him to go into a different direction. “I prefer a child-like creative place; you feel it rather than steal it”.
Commons definitely wants to be defined on his own terms. “It’s that Beatles thing – making sure that you’ve got that thing about your sound, your voice, delivery, even attitude.” The mission statement: “Nothing less than getting people listening to music in a different way!”
He’s irritated with the “proto-Ibiza thing” but is no longer bitter about it. He is more impressed by how bands have “done well out of it” and amazed at “how simply your sound can be defined”.
Hopefully with Commons there’ll be an opportunity to replace these aging rockers with someone equally credible. He’s the only rock artist to sign to Interscope in 5 years. “They’re happy to have a bunch of guys making music back at the label and stuff, hooking up with songwriters and not stylists.” With Commons comes “modern production that won’t sound alien to people – that’s the mission plan”.
And with a lot more songs in the pipeline that “can kick the door down”, hopefully he’ll be here to stay.